“Objects,” “Womanhood” and “3awrah”

In Issue 59 by Hejaz Jalal

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Photo by Danilo Batista on Unsplash

Objects

This boy that I loved, my first love, named parts of me

Names full of admiration

Names that never addressed me

Foreign names of white women

Aurora

I don’t like those names

Why not?

I picked beautiful names

Stars

Moons

Goddesses

Athena

But those aren’t my names

I’m not my body

I’m not a moon

Not a goddess

You are to me

Why don’t you understand?

It’s poetic

Why do you keep fighting me on this?

How come you don’t love me this way?

Rhea

Why can’t you just love me for me?

Why can’t I just love you the way I love you?

I make you more attractive in my head

No one will love you like I do

He took those parts of me

and made them his,

because all he ever saw me as

was a collection

of beautiful parts.

Womanhood

Take a moment

To appreciate

The Arab mother

Endlessly patient,

With injustice

Always smiling,

Through disrespect

They say motherhood ages a woman

He said it aged my Mama

Women are keepers of morals, defenders of virtue

Raising cities on sand, dumping quarries in the sea

Beautiful on top, fragile beneath

There to be spit on

Jannah is found beneath your mother’s feet

Your mother’s bloody, barefoot feat

They say the shock of birth traumatizes your Mama forever

They never consider the person who birthed you

3awrah

My hair was made of salt and sea

and shame

My eyes, lit with wonder and worry

were full of wickedness

Temptations made flesh

my flesh

So small, responsible to all

punished for every man

Women, keepers of sanctity

protect men’s virtue

Allah, kind and just and fair

will burn you

Every man who glances, who thinks impure

will earn one sin

And you, with your impudence,

will earn tenfold

One for dressing like a whore

one for every man’s glance

Imagine, two hours of immodesty

costing two years in fire

Every inch of flesh uncovered

will be seared

Our merciful God’s command

for your own safety

Remember, this is because to us,

women are respected

daisies

diamonds

dangerous

About the Author

Hejaz Jalal

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Hejaz Jalal is a queer Syrian-American poet and writer raised in Saudi Arabia.